Agile Nanotech

Company Background

Agile Nanotech Inc. provides compressible liquid energy management solutions (2).  Agile Nanotech main mission is to research better energy absorbing nanocomposites for helmets, bumpers, body armor, etc. They achieved this goal when producing AgileZorb.  The search for alternate materials was inspired by the observation that at least one of the components needs to be highly "flexible," so as to take advantage of the entire surface area of the nanoporous particles. Realizing that liquid is the most flexible material, successful experiments demonstrated that the solid-liquid interactions could be greatly amplified by using a suspension of nanoporous particles in a liquid or a gel (1a).  Agile Nanotech Inc. was incorporated in 2007 and is based in San Diego, California (2).

Strategic Partnerships

The CEO of AgileNano (Dr. Doug Giese) was the founder of AP Labs and the CTO (Dr. Yu Qiao) and the inventor of AgileZorb is an Associate Professor of Materials Science at the University of California, San Diego. Greg Shelton, board member and advisor for AgileNano, was the Exec. VP of Engineering, Technology, Manufacturing and QA for Raytheon and helped establish the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (1a).

Innovation and Technology

Agile Nanotech has created AgileZorb™ which consists of nanoporous particles suspended in a specially formulated liquid. In AgileZorb, pressure rapidly forces the liquid into normally empty nanopores, absorbing a tremendous amount of energy. 60% – 80% of the energy is dissipated as heat. Additional energy is dissipated by storing then releasing the energy through a gentle spring-like action.  AgileZorb achieves ultra-high performance because the entire surface area of the nanoporous particles helps absorb energy. Each gram of particles (a couple cubic centimeters) has 100-2,000 square meters of surface area - the equivalent of up to half of a football field.  One milliliter of AgileZorb solution can absorb between 0.1 Joules of energy at 25 psi pressure up to 40 Joules of energy at 10,000 psi pressure levels (1b).

AgileZorb works on a near molecular scale. Due to the small size of the pores, AgileZorb reacts in 0.1-1 µsec, hundreds of time faster than standard foams and other energy absorbing materials. The reaction time is critical for blast mitigation. Conventional materials, which rely on mechanical properties for energy absorption, can require milliseconds to react (1b).


  1. AgileNano (2011). Retrieved on December 21, 2012
    1. “The AgileNano Story” (2011, June 23) from
    2. “AgileZorb” from
  2. Bloomberg Businessweek (2012). “Company Overview of Agile Nanotech Inc.” Retrieved on December 21, 2012 from